PARIS, France - The travel alert registry website operated by the French Foreign Ministry was hacked and defaced, leading to the possibility of a massive data breach.
In a statement confirming the cyberattack, the French Foreign Ministry on Thursday that its travel alert registry website had been pirated and warned that citizens' personal data "could be misused."
While the ministry has refused to confirm the exact number of people affected by the breach, it said that hackers had stolen data from the website created for its citizens travelling abroad - the Ariane system.
So far, the ministry hasn't revealed who might have been behind the cyberattack.
It said in its statement, "We immediately took the necessary measures to ensure this type of incident would not happen again."
The Foreign Ministry's registry allows citizens to register for security alerts when they are travelling abroad and several users of the website reported receiving emails about the hacking.
According to users quoted in local reports, they received emails notifying them that their names, cell phone numbers and email addresses may have been stolen.
The Ministry also told users in the email that none of the data was "sensitive" or "of a financial nature."
It said, "Personal data registered during registration on the Ariane platform has been stolen. This data could be misused but with limited effect as the information does not include sensitive financial material or data likely to disclose destinations."
However, the attack on the foreign ministry's integral webpage raised questions about the security of French government websites at a time when the country is witnessing internal turmoil.